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Gertrude Colburn (American, d. 1968)

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Directory: Archives: Fine Art: Sculpture: Bronze: Pre 1940: Item # 30940

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Gertrude Colburn (American, d. 1968)

Bronze group with Gorham foundry mark.

Colburn became the first teacher of dancing at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore in 1916. In the first year, the number of students in the program was twelve. By the time of her retirement in 1931, that number had grown to 750.

Colburn’s retirement from her first career was early and unexpected. It occurred when a traumatic fall down a flight of stairs confined her to bed for several years. Fortunately, only her mobility was diminished, not her great creativity.

One 1933 article entitled "Gertrude Colburn as Sculptor" reads: "The history of Mrs. Colburn's sculpturing is a remarkable one. She had never attempted anything of the sort until recently, when, following an inner urge to model, and also to relieve the tedium of her long illness, she decided to indulge what seemed to her only a whim."

Baltimore sculptor Haynesworth Baldray provided Colburn with both clay and the advice to start her second career. Building from her years of experience with dance and an understanding of the human form in motion she began by working in clay. She started simply working with only her hands and an orange wood stick. As she progressed, some of her clay sculptures were cast in bronze. Colburn's works were well received within the Baltimore art community.

Information courtesy of MD Commission on Artistic Property, MD State Archives and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.

Dimensions: 13.5” x 13.5”